Eight executions were scheduled in Arkansas from April 17-27, 2017. The state scheduled two executions per day on four days during that period. The men scheduled for execution were (top row, from left to right) Bruce Ward, Marcel Williams, Jason McGehee, and Kenneth Williams; (bottom row, from left to right) Stacey Johnson, Ledell Lee, Don Davis, and Jack Jones. The state carried out four executions during this period.
On April 6, the federal district court granted preliminary injunction staying execution of Jason McGehee until Arkansas Parole Board complies with 30-day public notice period on the Board’s 6-1 recommendation to grant clemency and Governor Hutchinson decides whether to grant or deny clemency. On April 25, the State announced that it will not appeal the decision so the execution of Jason McGehee will not take place on April 27.
On Friday, April 14, 2017, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted Bruce Ward’s request for stay of execution to permit Ward’s attorneys to litigate a claim that he is mentally incompetent to be executed. On Saturday, April 15, the state asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its stay order. On Monday, April 17, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied the State’s request.
On Monday, April 17, 2017, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted stays of execution to Don Davis and Bruce Ward, after the prisoners filed a Motion to Recall the Mandate and for Stay of Execution based on pending Supreme Court decision in McWilliams v. Dunn. On Monday evening, April 17, around 7pm CST, the State asked the US Supreme Court to vacate the stay for Don Davis. Around 9pm CST, Davis filed a response opposing the State’s request. The Supreme Court denied Arkansas’ request to vacate the stay of execution for Don Davis. No executions were carried out on April 17.
On Wednesday, April 19, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued an order granting a stay for Stacey Johnson and remanding his case for a hearing on DNA.
On Thursday, April 20, Arkansas carried out the execution of Ledell Lee, and he was pronounced dead at 11:56pm CST.
Arkansas carried out two executions on Monday, April 24. The state administered the lethal-injection drugs for Jack Jones at 7:06pm CST and he was pronounced dead at 7:20pm CST. Based on problems related to Jones’ execution, attorneys for Marcell Williams filed an emergency motion for stay of execution, which was granted by the federal district judge. Williams’ execution, which was scheduled to begin at 8:15pm CST, was stayed until 9:22pm CST, when the district court vacated the stay. The administration of drugs began at 10:16pm, and Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33pm.
On Thursday, April 27, Arkansas carried out the execution of Kenneth Williams, and he was pronounced dead at 11:05pm CST.
On April 28, in light of reported problems that occurred during the execution, attorneys for Kenneth Williams are requesting a full investigation into the execution.
Information Courtesy of Death Penalty Action.